A Response To “Generation Flux” (from Fast Company)


Today’s post will require a tiny bit of pre-work.

Earlier this year, Fast Company published a fascinating article called This Is Generation Flux: Meet The Pioneers Of The New (And Chaotic) Frontier Of Business. Overall, it’s a fantastic piece and I’d highly recommend reading it.

The other reason I want you to read it, however, is because I’m going to be rebutting a couple of points from the article below. (You can read the article online here or download a free PDF of it here.)

Before I get into that, I wanted to highlight a few really poignant quotes from the feature. There are a lot of great ones…

Big Important Points:

  • “The business climate, it turns out, is a lot like the weather. And we’ve entered a next-two-hours era [where we can’t predict anything beyond that.]”
  •  “Any business that ignores these transformations does so at its own peril.”
  •  “We need to systematize change.”
  •  “Most big organizations are… absolutely horrible at solving ambiguous problems–when you don’t know what you don’t know.”
  • “Do we really want to return to a world of just three broadcast channels?”
  • “Flexibility of skills leads to flexibility of options. To see what you can’t see coming, you’ve got to embrace larger principles.”
  • “The key is to be clear about your business mission. In a world of flux, this becomes more important than ever.”

Next, my two rebuttals…

Missing The Mark #1:

The article’s author states that there is no credible long-term picture for what will define the next era, saying: “If there is a pattern to all this, it is that there is no pattern.” I wholeheartedly disagree, and actually find this perspective to be quite unhelpful.

It turns out, people scattered across many disciplines and industries are talking about this shift, and about what humanity can and is becoming. The challenge is that these futurists are often so dispersed that it’s hard to hear the narrative.

This is one of the primary reasons I wrote Igniting the Invisible Tribe in the manner I did: I wanted to capture these scattered visions and pull them together in a single, cohesive, and compelling account that could help everyday folks like me make sense of all the changes. There are patterns — and, frankly, they are incredibly exciting.

Missing The Mark #2: 

There’s a quote in the article that says the work revolution we are experiencing has “come to technology first, but will reach every industry.” The last part of this sentence is very, very true. The first part, though… notsomuch.

We’ve become comfortable with viewing technology as an industry unto itself, but it is not. Technology is simply an extension of mentality, led by early adopters and cultural pioneers. Technology is a tool we use to make whatever we’re really doing easier (hopefully).

This is an important distinction, because what the new economy is actually demanding is work that is more connected, human, and meaningful than it used to be. These are all things that technology can promote… or erode. Technology is value-neutral. Its effects can be very bad or they can be very good. What makes the difference is what we choose to do with it. (I will say this point does get a limited mention towards the end of the report.)

What did you think of the article? Leave a comment below!


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Thinking About What’s Next

Leadership, Life

When I think about what’s next for me and the consulting practice, I am pondering a couple of things — and neither is going to sound very sexy.

To figure out where we should be going, I take a look at what humans and organizations need to move the world forward in a positive way. When I think about this, it boils down to two things: more belief and better systems.


I used to think that the way to improve business was to scientifically prove that what we were doing worked better. But the more you go down this road, the more you realize that the proof is already out there — and has been for quite a long time.

This means the problem isn’t a lack of proof but a lack of belief.

Most people don’t believe that work can be good, healthy, and life-giving. At a very basic level, most of us believe work is supposed to suck, and so in a terrible, grand self-fulfilling prophecy, it continues to do just that.

Look for a lot more of my work to be focused in this area, as my partners and I create more ways to inspire and galvanize you, the true work revolutionaries.


The next things we need, particularly at the organization level, are better systems. Businesses have plenty of systems right now, of course, but most of them really suck. (Think: performance reviews, phone tree systems, meetings driven by powerpoints, etc.) These things don’t make people’s lives easier or more bearable — in fact, they do the opposite.

But making things better is the only true reason a system should exist.

Right now, most of our human systems make things more complicated and less energized. This needs to stop. Now. (Yesterday would be better.) We need to drastically re-envision the way a business tribe is organized, and we need dramatically new systems to power this new kind of company.

We’ll continue to innovate here as well, providing you the tools you need to create better, more life-giving human systems. (I can’t wait to share what I’m working on!)


UPDATE 9/18/15 — Consulting practice website URL


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Things I Know About Writing A Book, Part 3


I’ve been creating things my entire life. From music to websites to (now) books, I’ve found that the creative process is usually remarkably similar. We artistic types have a vision in our head of what we believe our art will become when it is brought into the real world, and because of this we are a picky and peculiar breed.

As we grow as a creative individual, we learn that there are parts of the creative process we can’t execute as well as someone else can — although we still see the visions in our heads of a finished product. This is an awkward kind of thing. It’s tough to give a portion of our process to someone else, not because we’re control freaks (well, at least not entirely), but because the manifestation of the vision is intensely personal. The product we release will be a direct reflection of how we see the world, and no one else can own that.

As I’ve mentioned, in 2011 I was signed with a literary agent and we spent a lot of time going through the feedback we were receiving from traditional publishers. This whole process was quite instructive (although I’m pretty sure most of the best stuff came from the agent himself). I learned a lot through this back and forth dialogue about what was most vital to me.

When I finally signed with a publisher I thought, “Oh good; now I don’t have to worry about all these damn details so much.” This was true — but only to a point. With my publisher, I did have a team of people who were caring about the details along with me, but I pretty quickly realized that it was still my job to make sure everything turned out right.

LESSON #3: Whatever you’re making, nobody will care about it like you do. In fact, nobody can care about it like you do. There’s always a balance between an artist’s vision and the feedback of others. We can always get better at learning how to incorporate criticism gracefully, but there’s also something important about learning how to stand your ground. It is your book (or garden or house or scrapbook or whatever), after all.


P.S. By the way, if you’re reading this and find yourself thinking that you aren’t a “creative type,” I’d like to question that notion. If you are human, you are creative. (Read the second Q/A — and then go back and read the whole article. It’s awesome.)


P.P.S. If you missed them, here are the other things I know about writing a book: Part 1 & Part 2.


P.P.P.S. As a blog reader (and someone who made it through a ridiculous amount of postscripts), I have a special surprise for you. My book isn’t yet available for sale, but it just so happens that I have 50 limited edition copies that I am pre-selling. Get one while they last!


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